1,400 poor Dalit, Muslim houses "under threat" of demolition in Mumbai: Lack of grievance mechanism alleged

Cheeta Camp slum, Trombay
By Our Representative
Amidst claims of ‘housing For all’ and ‘affordable housing’, the Maharashtra government in alliance with the local body administration of Mumbai allegedly again threatening to demolish homes of around 1,400 poor Dalit and Muslim families. Two slum areas -- Bheemchhaya in Kannamwar Nagar, Vikhroli and Cheeta Camp in Trombay -- are set to be razed to ground by bulldozers.
Bheemchhaya is a Dalit majority community with 800 households, while Cheeta Camp is a Muslim majority slum community with 600 households. The demolition will be carried out by the Maharashtra Forest Department.
Government claims that these areas are notified as forest and need be free of encroachment. Contesting this, civil rights organization Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan (GBGBA) has said in a statement, forwarded to Counterview, the demolitions are being threatened "without following the due process of law and making enough provisions for grievance redressal."
The Forest Department has announced the demolition of Cheeta Camp will be carried out tomorrow and Bheemchhaya on a later date. GBGBA insists, "There can be no eviction without rehabilitation. Due process of law ought to be followed before carrying out the demolition drive."
"No notices of demolition have been served to the affected families", GBGBA points out, adding, "These slums are protected as per Maharashtra Slum Act but the Forest Department has notified these areas as ‘reserved forest’ and is disrespecting the housing rights of the slum dwellers by refusing to rehabilitate the protected slum dwellers."
Heavy police forces have deployed for the demolition drive. "Local police station of Cheeta Camp is terrorising Muslim youths and threatening them of dire consequences if they try to resist the demolition drive", reports GBGBA.
"In Bheemchhaya, the Forest Department has issued orders of demolition on false grounds without providing the aggrieved slum dwellers any mechanism to appeal against the order", says GBGBA, adding, "This action will amount to violation of section 3 of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 which prohibits eviction of member of a Dalit community without following due process of law."
Blaming the Maharashtra government of disregarding the vulnerabilities of the Dalits and minority communities by demolishing their only shelter, GBGBA says, "This will lead to further marginalisation of these communities."
Appealing the state government to stop this demolition of homes of vulnerable families with children, GBGBA has asked members of civil society, political organisations and concerned citizens of the city to stand up against this "injustice."
"We appeal everyone to visit Bheemachaya and Cheetah Camp to initiate dialogue with members of the community and persuade the state government to resolve matters by dialogue and mutual consent rather than brute police force", says GBGBA, adding, "The city belongs to everyone and it is the government’s responsibility to ensure housing to all".
"Instead, for years what Mumbai is witnessing is 'snatching away’ of homes, life and livelihood by that very state that should protect the poor, vulnerable and marginalised", the civil rights body believes, adding, "We must come together to prevent another gross injustice in the name of demolition".

Comments

Damien Spectre said…
good. thats for trying to mention the word MUSLIM for cheAP publicity